Located 10,000 kilometers from the Amazon and 18 hours from Rio, the city of Brasília – the capital of Brazil – is a mythical place: a concrete utopia born out of the desert.
In 1956 at the rebirth of Brazilian democracy, visionary architect Oscar Niemeyer and urbanist Lúcio Costa invented an urban plan and structures that would attempt to micromanage the daily activity of human life. The unabashed goal was to create the space that would birth “the new Brazilian citizen”.
Now the stark beauty of the city acts as a backdrop to isolation, changing values, and the dynamic power and politics of today’s Brazil.
That’s what the documentary “Brasilia: Life After Design” intents to show. The film is the story of a city in conflict between its environment and its people. Despite the population growing every year, the city plan itself cannot change. It was designed for 500 000 people, and now over two and a half million live within its borders. Despite its designers’ best intentions, people were secondary considerations. And in order to live there, people have to break the city’s rules.
The haunting ambience of Niemeyer and Costa’s dream echoes through the lives of a range of characters, each trying to make their mark in the city of today: Sergio, the stalwart urbanist who defends the city plan but knows it must adapt; Helize, studying to become a federal civil servant – the dream of so many Brazilian students. And Willians, a street vendor by day, who tries to find meaningful connection in a city built to divide.
Brasilia: Life After Design takes us to a city rarely seen by the international viewer: what is it like to live in someone else’s idea?
The film is directed by multi-award winning filmmaker Bart Simpson, best known for his work on films such as ‘The Corporation’ and ‘Big Boys Gone Bananas’. It will be shown in New York during the Margaret Mead Film Festival at the American Museum of Natural History, from October 19 – 22.